4 Ways Tech Will Change How We Shop

Technology is changing all aspects of our day-to-day lives, and in some cases it’s doing so pretty rapidly. But not all the changes were experiencing are obvious or even apparent at first. One way in which tech is starting to alter how we live and operate that we don’t always notice, for instance, is in retail and online shopping. Stores of all different kinds are constantly working on ways to develop better customer experiences, and a lot of these ways involve cutting edge technology.

Some of the changes have already happened, and others seem to be just around the corner. But here are four major ways in which tech is transforming the average consumer’s shopping experience.

Beacons Are Automating In-Person Retail

Walmart, Lowe’s, and Whole Foods are banking on this to compete with Amazon

This is a change that’s been kept relatively quiet up to this point because as of now it’s primarily massive stores that are doing it. But the concept can work in anything from a WalMart superstore to a family-owned neighborhood shop. Basically the idea is that small, Bluetooth-powered devices called beacons are placed at strategic locations within a store. These beacons can recognize shoppers via Bluetooth connections to mobile phones, and interact accordingly. In a large store one of the main ideas is to help direct customers to the proper part of the store. But there are other functions as well. Beacons can offer coupons, access shopper history, or even simply send out friendly greetings. Ultimately, they’re meant to bring some of the convenience of online shopping to retail environments.

Bots Are Assisting Online Shoppers

How this shopping chatbot came to life

Online chatbots that assist with shopping processes have been around for awhile now, but they’re becoming markedly more sophisticated. It’s said that 64 percent of consumers expect real-time interaction when shopping online, and 80 percent of business buyers have the same expectations. That means companies with online platforms are facing more pressure to develop chatbots or integrate high-end programs that can not just offer generic assistance, but rather engage fully with customer needs. Expect to see more bots that act like real people – and particularly helpful ones at that.

VR Will Be In Stores Near You

Retailers Beware: AR/VR is Coming to Change Shopping

Most of the attention that virtual reality has gotten has been devoted to gaming, and with good reason. VR has brought about a whole new side to the gaming industry, and it’s where a lot of the most crowd-pleasing headlines are going to be generated. But VR (and AR) should have significant consequences for retail also. Several different applications have been suggested, and are no doubt starting to be implemented somewhere. For instance, certain VR or AR programs might allow consumers looking for new clothes to “try on” those clothes virtually without ever going to a store. Or, for another example, people shopping in furniture stores might be able to use certain digital programs to fully picture different items in their own homes. These are just a few possibilities for what should be a pretty major change in how we shop.

Amazon Is Still Working On Drone Delivery

Amazon deal for Whole Foods could bring retail experiments

Last but not least, we should also remember that Amazon is still working on putting together drone delivery fleets. These won’t necessarily change how we shop, but they will alter our expectations. Online shopping has already made the process much more convenient, and if drone delivery becomes a widespread feature, we may soon be able to do our online shopping under the assumption that products can arrive within a matter of hours, instead of days. This could wind up being the biggest tech-inspired change of all.

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